Biodiversity mainstreaming: a growing reality

Biodiversity mainstreaming in fisheries is the progressive consideration of biodiversity concerns in fisheries policy and management. During the last three decades, the fishery communities (at FAO, regional or national levels) have incrementally implemented sustainable development and biodiversity conservation principles, both before and after the 1992 adoption of the CBD, progressively integrating a broader set of biodiversity-related goals into legal, policy and management frameworks for an Ecosystem Approach to sustainable fisheries. In parallel the conservation communities have been increasingly adopting more economically rational and socially inclusive sets of goals and governance approaches. Cooperation between them has increased to resolve historical and emerging disagreements, despite tensions in core vested interests, challenging the pessimistic picture of obtuse confrontation promoted by some environment-focused advocacy papers. Many fisheries are not yet being sustainably managed, with significant adverse impacts on biodiversity, and many conservation initiatives are still insufficiently conscious of their impact on food security and livelihoods. However, looking ahead, biodiversity conservation will continue to be as important to fisheries sustainability as socioeconomic  goals are for successful conservation. Biodiversity mainstreaming will therefore increase further but greater efforts are needed to deliver outcomes at all scales, increasing governance capacity, particularly in developing countries, and investment in integrated partnerships between fisheries and environment sectors.

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